Mueller to detail ex-NSA Flynn's cooperation in Russia probe

Arturo Kim
December 5, 2018

Robert Mueller is expected to disclose on Tuesday how Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has been assisting his investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Last year, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about communications he had with a Russian official about sanctions during the presidential transition, and Flynn has since been cooperating with Mueller's probe.

The filing is heavily redacted, continuing to shroud in secrecy the details of what Flynn told Mueller's team about his interactions with Trump and other top officials. That episode is among those under scrutiny by Mueller as he probes whether Trump attempted to obstruct the Russian Federation investigation.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been leading an investigation that is looking at whether the president or his associates colluded with Russian interests during the presidential election of 2016.

"Given the defendant's substantial assistance and other considerations set forth below, a sentence at the low end of the guideline range-including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration-is appropriate and warranted", the filing reads.

Mueller, the special counsel leading the Trump-Russia inquiry, is scheduled to file a memo to court in Washington DC that will recommend a sentence for Flynn, who has been cooperating since December a year ago, when he admitted lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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It's unclear if Trump will now turn his fury on Flynn, who Trump grew close to during the 2016 campaign and has drawn the president's sympathy since he came under investigation.

Mueller, as special counsel, was given the job of probing "any links and/or co-ordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

The list also includes his former presidential campaign chair, Paul Manafort, and Manafort's colleague, Rick Gates, Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen and campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who began serving a short prison sentence last week.

Whatever it is that Flynn said, it's clear that Mueller liked it.

Flynn, who served as Trump's National Security Adviser, was charged with making false statements regarding conversations he had with Russian officials. He is now serving a 14-day prison sentence. Another possibility is the reported investigation of the Trump Foundation for possible campaign finance violations. Also, Paul Manafort, a convicted felon who just blew up his cooperation deal with Mueller, is "a fearless man" who "refused to 'break'" and therefore has earned "such respect" from Trump.

"Cohen made the false statements to ... give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended". "The fact it's done out in the open is no defence", said Neal Katyal, a veteran constitutional lawyer and former acting solicitor general of the Department of Justice.

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